Tuesday, August 29, 2017

One Year Wonder?

You often hear the term one hit wonder used for musical acts that only seem to have one popular song.  I remember when I was a senior in college Tubthumping by Chumbawamba was all the rage.  If you forgot how annoying that song was, or you want to relive some of your glory days, here you go:

I don't know how many times I heard clips of that song during home football games.  A short video from the previous game would be played to it.  Not everyone gets knocked down and gets back up.

Baseball players can suffer the same fate.  A rookie comes up, dazzles the league and wins Rookie of the Year, only to have the league figure them out the following season.  Jerome Walton and Kevin Maas come to mind as players from my early collecting years who faded quickly after their first season.  One current Cardinals player may be following that same path.

The Cardinals signed Aledmys Diaz to a four year $8 million contract back in 2014.  He was a highly touted Cuban at one time, but did not have a great showcase so the Cardinals signed him to a fairly cheap contract.  He bounced around the minor leagues for a couple of seasons, even being DFA in 2015.  This may have served as a wake up call, because after no other team signed him he finished 2015 strong and played in the Arizona Fall League.  He was set to open 2016 in Triple A before Jhonny Peralta was injured in spring training.  Diaz would go on to have a great first half and be named to the All Star team as a replacement for Matt Carpenter.  Things would start to tail off in early August after he was hit by a pitch and suffered a broken thumb.  He missed 6 weeks, but did return to hit his first grand slam shortly after his childhood friend Jose Fernandez died. 

Fast forward to this year and Diaz has seemed to lose his batting eye.  He struggled to hit in the mid .250s before being demoted to Triple A at the end of June.  He has not fared much better since.  I am not sure if he will ever get back to his All Star form, but I would like to see him get another chance.  I doubt it will be as the Cardinals shortstop unless Paul DeJong suffers a similar fate.  He has been playing all over the infield in the minors, so maybe he can become a super utility guy.  About the only positive thing out of his slump is how cheap is autos have become.  I won the pictured 2017 Topps Tier One card for $4.98 delivered.  Before the start of this season his autos were going for $15-$20.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Red and Blue TCDB Trade

My most recent TCDB trade came in earlier this week with some blue mixed in with my usual red colored Cardinals.  I made a trade with member 860502 that yielded me some nice Cardinals and a few Dodgers so I could repay a collector for this package.  I was too lazy too scan the Dodgers before I sent them off, but here is the Cardinals portion of the package.

1987 was the first year I heavily collected cards.  I opened a few packs in 1985 and 1986, but the woodgrain border of 1987 really got me hooked.  It also did not hurt that you could buy cards almost everywhere that year.  It was nice to see Topps celebrate the 30th anniversary of the set this year. 

Will Clark finished his career as a Cardinal at the end of the 2000 season filling in at first base for an injured McGwire.  He hit some big home runs during the regular season that helped the Cardinals to the playoffs, but the Mets proved to be too much in the NLCS.  He does have a few autographed cards in a Cardinals uniform, but they are way out of my price range.  If only I had won more than $4 from the Powerball drawing this week.  The McGwire 2000 7-11 coin is one I have never seen before.

I am always a sucker for sets featuring retired players.  American Pie, Conlon Collection, and Upper Deck Heroes of Baseball are all great in my book.  I do not think Curt Flood does not get enough hobby love for what he did for the game as far as the dawn of free agency.  The book " A Well Paid Slave"  is on my reading list for this winter.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Second Peoria Chiefs Trip

Every year before school starts I try to schedule a weekend baseball trip.  School started on August 16, so we made a quick to Peoria for the second time this year.  We went to games on Friday the 12 and Saturday the 13.  One of the reasons I chose the Friday night game was the Alex Reyes bobblehead give away. 

This was advertised as a give away for fans 16 and older, but my 12 year old daughter was given one.  She stand about 5'4", so she does look older.  We ended up with 3, 2 of which have been traded for other Cardinal bobbleheads I did not have.  This one is a little smaller than most bobbleheads, but it is nicely done. 

My son and I did a little autographing both nights.  Our first sig was 2017 fourth round pick Kramer Robertson.

Robertson played in the College World Series for LSU, then was in Peoria shortly after.  He signed the August program given away at Dozer Park. 

The rest of the autos we got were on cards from the 2017 team set.  We did not go after these too hard because there is a team meet and great for season ticket holders coming up this weekend.. We should be able to knock out most of the set then.

Dylan Carlson is the most promising player of the bunch.  He has spent the entire year in low A Peoria as an 18 year old.  He averages a strike out per game, but does have decent power for a switch hitter and has a cannon for an arm.  It will be interesting to see where he starts next year.  He may repeat low A for a month or two before heading to Palm  Beach.
One other season ticket holder event that I mentioned before was the opportunity to take batting practice on the field.  Unfortunately this was held the Wednesday night before we went to Peoria.  I did not feel like making the 3 hour drive twice in three day, so I elected not to go.  Maybe next year it will be held on a weekend.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Bench Trade

The first online trading site I joined was The Bench back in 2003.  Since then I have completed over 650 trades, but have not had much luck trading there the last few months.  A lot of new members are just looking for the hottest rookies like Judge and Bellinger, of which I have none because I open very few packs.  Last week I was able to trade some of my Cardinals duplicates for some Cardinals I needed.
The lone insert in the lot was this 2007 Fleer mini.  I would call it a half size though, because it is larger than the current A&G or Gypsy Queen mini cards.  Yadi is always a welcome addition to the collection regardless of size. 

I am still plugging away at the 2017 GQ team set.  I have the Reyes RC and Cepeda SP still to track down.  Though not as nice as Stadium Club, GQ is very well done this year. 

It was nice to Roger Maris in a Cardinals uniform in the 2017 Archives set.  He only played two seasons with the Cardinals in 1967 and 1968, but went to the World Series both of those years.  I prefer the 1983 design over the 1992 design. 

The Musial finished my 2016 Diamond Kings set.  2017 DK set features some lesser know players like Brecheen and Walker.  Bottomley is not as well know since he played in the 1920s, but he is a member of the Hall of Fame. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Two Firsts in One Surprise Package

I had an unexpected package arrive on Tuesday from Trading Bases member Kelly G.  She sent a nice 5 pack of Cardinals, two of which were a first of their kind in my collection.

I love the baby blue Cardinals throwback uniforms from the 1980s.  The Diaz was new to me, the Big Mac was not.

Shiny die cut cards are a double win.  I have never completed a triumvirate Cardinals set, but may have to on this one.  Wacha and Rosenthal are the other two cards.

This is my first Carlos Martinez relic card.  Nothing flashy about it, but it is a super thick card.  Topps is sure to flood the market in the next few years so that I can put together an entire jersey.

This is my first Grichuk autograph.  I was actually watching a couple of his 2017 Tier One autos before this card arrived.  This one is a sticker instead of being on card like the Tier One, but the price was better on this one.   

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Cardinals for Cardinals

One of my favorite trading partners sent me a nice surprise last week.  Trading Bases member Mark Z and I have a nice back and forth exchange of sending each other our duplicate Cardinals.  I am pretty sure his latest package was not all doubles. 

These 2012 Bowman Draft Chrome cards may have been doubles, but they were 2 of the last 3 on my need list. 

The other base cards were these 2 2017 Diamond Kings.  DK and Optic are by far the nicest Panini products out this year. 

I love the Bowman Silver Ice parallels.  Wacha has remained healthy so far this year and is having a nice season.  The Cardinals have skipped his turn in the rotation a couple of times that may have helped his endurance. 

It is always great to get Wainwright inserts.  I mistakenly thought the top card was a rare 2015 Stadium Club orange parallel, but it is a 2016 Black & White insert.  Great card either way.

I hope Reyes can return from TJ surgery next year as well as Lynn has this year.  He may end up taking Lynn's rotation spot if the Cardinals do not resign him this winter.  If I had to guess today, I am thinking Lynn will get more money elsewhere and be pitching for someone else next season.

  Purple and Chrome look nice together.  Heritage cards make them look even better.

The package definitely had a Wacha theme to it.  I still like game used cards even though they are a dime a dozen now. 

Topps seems to number the black border cards to the 60s.  This 2015 Update is numbered to 64.  The 2017 Topps Zack Duke I showed in a previous post was numbered to 66.  I guess next year they will be numbered to 67. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Payback is not Always Bad

Payback is not always viewed as a good thing, but in the card collecting community it is welcome in most cases.  I usually come across one or two posts each day about a collector receiving payback.  Often it is more cards that what was sent out.  My latest package from Trading Bases member Ron B was such a package.  I sent him some IP autos from my Florida trip, while he sent a huge stack of Cardinals.

I have never been a big fan of Allen & Ginter.  Minis are not my cup of tea, and I cannot stand opening a pack of baseball cards and getting a card with an animal or some other creature.  Ron sent the entire 2017 Cardinals set minus the Seung Hwan Oh sp.    

I will gladly take Cardinal minis if they come my way.  The Molina is a black border parallel, while the Grichuk is an A&G back. 

I have very few 2017 Topps parallel cards.  These 2 are my first gold cards.

I do have a handful of the foil parallel like the Grichuk card, but the Duke is my first black.  It is numbered to 66.

I always loved Donruss Rated Rookie cards.  Optic did a good job with this year's version.  The Sierra is a holo parallel, the Reyes the base version.

Optic also did well with 2016 inserts.  The colored parallels like the pink Holliday really stand out. 

I often wonder how a card company decides what to numbered certain parallels to.  The 2005 UD Classics Van Slyke is a silver parallel numbered to 399, Adams is a 2016 Press Proof numbered to 99, and Ankiel is a 2001 Legacy Ultimate insert numbered to 250.  I cannot say I miss the early 2000 Fleer sets with all the numbered short print cards and parallels. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

First Cardinals Game in 2 Years

If you read some of my previous posts, you know my family and I attend a lot of minor league games.  This year we have been to 5 different parks in 5 different states.  Minor league baseball is one of the best values for your entertainment dollar regardless of sport.  It is hard to beat front row seats for less than $15, good promo items, and the laid back atmosphere.  The chance for in person autographs is also a big plus.

You may be wondering if we attend any St. Louis Cardinals games.  Of all the ballparks I have been to, St. Louis is the closest drive to me other than Indianapolis (2.5 hours vs 2 hours).  You would think we would go to a handful of games each year, but that has not been the case.  The last game we went to was in the spring of 2015.  My son and I left a dance competition early to catch an afternoon game.  Since we hit all the Cardinals minor league teams already this year, he wanted to go to Cardinals game to say he hit them all.

I found two seats in the top row above the Cardinals bullpen for last Friday's game on Stubhub for $30 each.  My wife and daughter chose to attend a swimming party, so it was just us boys.  We choose Friday's game for 2 reasons.  The giveaway was a 1967 World Series replica trophy for adults, while it was Academy Sports autograph night.  The first 100 children 15 and under get autographs from 2 current players.  After that, 2 former players sign for all fans for 45 minutes.  I knew a couple of weeks ago that Scott Cooper and Kyle McClellan were the alumni, but it was not until Thursday evening that I found out Alex Reyes and Carson Kelly were signing for the kids.  We arrived about an hour before the gates opened.  My son ended up with ticket #24.

I have mentioned before that Reyes is my son's favorite player because they share the same first name.  This was the 6th or 7th time we have gotten his auto at a ball park.  This ticket was from his MLB debut.

Earlier in July we got Kelly to sign a 2016 Futures Game ball at a Triple A game in Nashville.  This time we used a ROMLB.  I love the way he included his uniform in the loop.  I hope Kelly is in the majors for good this time.  He may only play once a week, but he should benefit from watching Molina play in person.

We had some time to kill before the alumni signed, so we watched the end of the Diamondbacks batting practice.  Not even 5 minutes after getting to our seats, one of the Diamondback coaches tossed my son a ball.

Had to tell from the pic, but there is a nice grass stain on the left.  There is also a large blue mark on the sweet spot.  This ball will go in the mini bat rack that I hope to have built before Christmas.

After BP, it was back to the alumni line where we waited maybe 10 minutes.

This is the first time we have gotten Scott Cooper.  He has appeared at Winter Warm Up before, but we were never able to get him.  He only played in St. Louis one year, but was born in the area.

This is the third time we have gotten McClellan.  He joked the picture on the 2010 Upper Deck card was way too much of  a close up.  McClellan was a good reliever his first three seasons, but become a starter in 2011 after Adam Wainwright had Tommy John surgery.  He did well the first half of the season, but his arm did not hold up.  He was left off the World Series roster, but did get a ring.  He pitched 2 more seasons as a reliever before retiring.  He is active in local charities and also appears on some Cardinals pregame shows.

The replica trophy is ok , but I am more of a bobblehead guy.  The Cardinals won the game 1-0.  About the only action in the first 6 innings happened when Luke Voit hit Dbacks pitcher Robbie Ray with a line drive.  The ball ended up being caught by the third baseman for an out.  I have never heard a stadium so quite as when Ray was on the ground.  He did get up on his own.  He is on the DL with a concussion now.  We left in the top of the 8th inninng after the Dbacks had runners on second and third with no outs.  We should have stayed to watch Trevor Rosenthal get a 6 out save, but I knew it was going to be close to 1 in the morning before we got home.  At least I was able to listen to the finish.  My son was asleep about 5 minutes after we got into my truck.